Formally the Ikeda Elementary School Associated with the Osaka University of Education (Jp. Osaka kyouiku daigaku fuzoku Ikeda shougakkou). Located in Ikeda city, Osaka prefecture, Japan. Recorded in the annals of infamy as the Columbine of Japan, only worse.

Shortly after 10 AM on June 8, 2001, a 37-year-old sick fuck named Takuma Mamoru parked his car in front of the school's unguarded east gate and snuck into the first floor of the school building. Wielding a 28-centimeter knife, he entered four first- and second-grade classrooms in rapid succession, and without saying a single word systematically stabbed all the students he could and any teachers who got in the way. While most of the children managed to escape and Takuma was eventually wrestled down by teacher Kawakami Yosuke and the school's vice principal Yano Katsumi, in 12 minutes he had managed to murder 8 children and wound 13 others, as well as two of the teachers. 7 of the dead were 2nd-grade girls, all stabbed in the back or the stomach. The motive? He wanted to commit suicide but didn't have the guts to do it, so he figured that this way he would get the death penalty.

To -brazil-: The primary source used for the above was the Yomiuri Shimbun, in Japanese, which I have consistently found to be way more accurate than the Japan Times. The case has been all over TV news as well, and based on victims' pictures and the -chan tagged to their names I can assure you all of them except one were indeed girls.

Your comments about the impossibility of preventing something like this, however, are spot on. The media has also been tut-tutting over a Monbusho memo from a few years back decreeing that all gates should be guarded, easy enough to enforce with some 35000 schools in the country...

Also, take a look at Takuma Mamoru for a brief biography of the killer, including his exact words when arrested.

Ah, the wonders of press coverage... According to The Japan Times, the knife was only 15 cm long, and only one of the dead kids was a girl, not the other way round. Not that it matters in the face of such a tragedy.

Of more relevance are details about the killer and his motives; the one cited above shouldn't be take at face value. After his arrest, he made a lot of totally contradicting statements, including one in which he denied ever entering the school. Apparently he was being treated in a nearby mental hospital, but hadn't been deemd truly dangerous. He also seems to have overdosed some of his medication prior to the killings.

One of the most chilling realizations about this even is that there really isn't any way it could have been prevented. Oh yeah, everyone's now saying how the hospital should have realized that the man was a potental killer, but that's just hindsight. Even more ridiculous are the cries for improved security - do they really want every school in the country fortified using money that could go into better education instead, just to defend against the off chance of a random nutcase?

The truth is: there is no such thing as total safety, not in a society you'd feel comfortable living in.

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